Writing a book for children

art, childrens book illustration, Illustration, painting, Uncategorized

I’m currently writing a picture book. It’s an idea I’ve had buzzing around in my head for over 20 years. I bet some people reading this page haven’t been alive as long as I have had this in my noggin.

I’m going to make a little project of writing about my progress now and then.

I’m a self taught artist really and I think there’s something really wonderful self taught artists. Of course, there are many areas of knowledge and experience that I lack but I make up for that in enthusiasm. Sometimes I wish I had known how much I loved illustration before I embarked on a university education. But then I wouldn’t have had the characterisation skills I got from my Theatre Arts degree, nor the breadth of knowledge of the human experience without studying Archaeology and Anthrolopology.

In fact, it was in a formal Archaeology degree that I ignited my passion for visual art and representation.  I trained in archaeological illustration which is basically drawing lots of very old things, like Roman pendants in the shape of (to use Baldrick’s parlance) a ‘thingy’.  I drew lots of Roman penises basically. Penises and pottery. And bits of glass. It was fun. No, really it was. (Points finger accusatorily).

I always loved making up stories as a child. I can remember making a book when I was about 11. It was called ‘Willy-Nilly the baby dragon’. It was unsuprisingly about a little dragon called Willy Nilly, who ate flamed grilled beefburgers.  It wrote it and illustrated it. It was a bit shit, I guess. But what do you expect? I was 11.

So this here idea I’ve got, I thought I’d have a go at getting it out there. I’ll send it out to publishers and if they don’t ‘see a market for it’ then I’ll blummin’ find a market myself.

Now, in the film of my life  this is where they would cut to me clawing at the doors of a London publishing house shouting, ‘I’ve found a maarKKEEETTTTT’ you bastards!’.

So I have been taking the time to storyboard my little tale and I’m going to share the journey with anyone who is interested enough to pop by.

I’ll start by sharing with you a little sketch I have started of one of the illustrations. You can learn more about it as the weeks go on.

****PLEASE BUY PICTURE BOOKS AND WHERE POSSIBLE, FROM INDEPENDENT BOOK STORES. DON’T LET THE ART DIE OUT. ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILDREN TO READ PICTURE BOOKS, ESPECIALLY OLDER CHILDREN. PICTURE BOOKS REALLY ARE GIFTS TO FEED THE MIND AND SOUL****

Stan in pot rgb this

 

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Inspiration No 2

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I’ve talked in an earlier post about my love of Arthur Rackham and how his illustrations were one of my first experiences of storytelling. I’d love to share another one with you. In fact, I might just do a little blummin’ running post about amazing illustrators I love.  Yep, I reckon I will. So here’s my next one: Karel Franta. When I was a child I had a HUGE book (I may have just had small hands) called The Book of Goodnight Stories. It was illustrated by Karel Franta and it started off a life long love of the Central / Eastern European visual tradition. 


It was packed with very quirky, often very dark little tales and I loved it. The illustrations and the text worked beautifully together. 

Exploring it now, his work reminds me of Chagall, often magic realist, sometimes dreamlike. He worked with Czech animator Jiri Trnka who is another firm favourite of mine. It’s a lineage all the way to animator Jan Svankmajer, who I am supporting in his latest project which is crowdsourced. There’s something very special about the Czech tradition. Czech it out. Yes, that is a gag.  

My name is Ali and I am a picture book-holic.

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I have a problem. It’s picture book based. I tried to stop at one but I couldn’t. Send help.

When drawing is like (shush)…sex

art, childrens book illustration, Illustration, painting, Uncategorized

Yep. I said it. S-E-X. It’s a bit of a rubbish analogy but it illustrates (get it?) my point. Everyone does it differently. I love to see the methods other people use for getting their drawings out. I thought I would briefly share some little pics of me at my desk. I’ve been working on a little something that I will share properly later on. This time, I sketched out a rough and then transferred it on my Wacom into Illustrator so I could mess about a bit and get my colours just right. The finished thing was hand painted in watercolours. Phew! And people think you just do a little doodle right?! 

Faces are aces

art, childrens book illustration, Illustration, painting, Uncategorized

Ballet

I love drawing faces. Fat, thin, old, young. Faces are aces.

I used to write comedy and the thing I loved most about it was creating a character from nothing. Just the little seedlings of people you’ve met along the way, all fused into new little people you create in your head. It’s the same with illustrating. I get to make new people. People with little imaginary back stories. People with secrets. Lots of little faces with secrets and stories. I love drawing faces. Faces is aces.

Connectivity

art, childrens book illustration, Illustration, Uncategorized

Smartphone

Here’s another little go on Illustrator.

It’s not rocket science. Just a little sketch when I was thinking about how we’re losing some of our knowledge to our devices.  I don’t pretend to have any grandiose ideas about this. I use it just as much as anyone else. I just think we seem to think in ‘meme’s’ these days. A nice little quote from Gandhi here, a pocket version of the Kierkegaard there. Everything is so easy, we’re handed knowledge on a plate. We’re all so clever but few of us seem to think anymore…..

Here’s a little corker from Epictetus:

 

philosophy garbage.jpg

He’s right isn’t he, old Epictetus. What a bloody legend! I bet he’s Greek. Those Greeks were ruddy clever……

But don’t forget, Epictetus ate babies or did he???  Nobody knows, but we do enjoy a nice little Google search that makes us look well-read. Or not, as the case may be.

 

Happy meme finding….

 

 

Eee…. where’s the harm in that?

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In my head it goes something like this:

Traditional illustration policeman: ‘Excuse me Miss, can we look in your bag please?’

Me: ‘I’m sorry?!’

Traditional illustration policeman: ‘We have reason to suspect you may be carrying contraband’

Me: ‘Ha! Me? No…… What makes you think that’

Traditional illustration policeman: ‘Well, it’s the shifty way you’re walking to be honest. Something’s not right. You look as if you may be trying to do non-traditional illustration’

Me: ‘I can’t believe this. I have rights you know!’

Traditional illustration policeman: (Smiling sagely to his colleague) ‘Yeah love, riiiiggghhhht. Anyway, if you just let me have a look in the bag’

Me: (Reluctantly handing over my bag) ‘Uuuggghhhh…..’

Traditional illustration policeman: (Pulling out a copy of Adobe Illustrator) ‘Just what I thought’.

Me: (Protests) ‘ What? NO! Ha ha! It’s not mine….I don’t know how it got there! Someone else packed my bag!’ BALLS!’

Traditional illustration policeman: ‘Thought we’d have a go at a little computer illustration did we? Yeah, the law doesn’t apply to you does it, love? You’re Daddy’s special little girl, aren’t you?’

Me: ‘No! You’ve got it wrong! I love watercolours. I love the feel of the paper! You can’t beat a good blend and wash! Honestly officer! I just wanted to have a little go, just to see what’s it’s like!’

Traditional illustration policeman: ‘Yes, well that’s how it starts isn’t it? A couple of vectors here and there. A couple of Live Paint effects and you’re moving on to the harder stuff. You’re going on to layers, importing your ‘real’ art and before you know it that’s it! You’re not an illustrator anymore, you’re a Graphic Designer.’

Me: ‘I’m sorry! (Hangs head and whispers) I need help….’

 

Before Christmas, I started to use Adobe Illustrator to see what it’s like and I felt a bit ‘soiled’ and ‘dirty’ but all that has gone. It is incredible. Obviously very different but I am loving experimenting.  So you may see a few little computer illustrations thrown in as I learn to use to behemoth….. This one made me giggle:

Poop poop